This year the World Mountain Bike Orienteering Championships (WMTBOC) will be held in Waldviertel, Austria, from August 5-13, 2018.
Centered around the Austrian city of Zwettle, this location will host 28 nations competing for the title of World MTBO Champion in Middle distance, Long distance, Sprint distance, Relay, and Mass Start events.
If you follow any of the elite MTBO races, you should notice that this is the same venue that held the Austrian MTBO Championships in 2016, and Round 1 of the MTBO World Cup in 2017.
This makes Waldviertel, Austria, very familiar territory for MTBO riders that have been serious about racing the International Orienteering Federation’s (IOF) World Cup circuit.
Because the World Cup circuit has been exclusively held in European countries, athletes that race in World Ranking Events (WRE) are always favorites to win at the World MTBO Championships each year.
The IOF has also been focused in producing larger turnouts for the WMTOBC by combining the WMTBOC with the Junior and European MTBO Championships into one giant event.
This year’s WMTBOC is no different.
The consolidation certainly brings in more riders, but the real goal of stacking WRE events in one location for three years in a row is all about building momentum.
The fact is not lost on the IOF that the World Orienteering Championships (WOC) generates far more buzz then its smaller MTBO cousin.
To help create an event that mirrors the massive turnout of a WOC event, the IOF has been seeking venues and orienteering federations that have proven the can handle a WRE.
Before an organization is allowed to host a WMTBOC event, they must have piloted a smaller WRE event at least 3 years prior to being awarded the opportunity to host a World MTBO Championship.
This makes counties like Austria prime venues for MTBO World Ranking Events due to their experience in hosting past events and should provide other countries with an example to what the IOF wants to see in future MTBO championship proposals.
Meanwhile, with the WMTBOC only a few weeks away, it is unclear if the United States will field a team.
This year’s call for riders that normally goes out in April, did not go out from Orienteering USA until June 2018.